Today is Human Rights Day
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1950, sought to establish the ‘inalienable rights of all members of the human family.’ It bestowed on all people the rights of security, education, and self-government, among others. The reality of human rights protection has, of course, been far trickier. While organizations worldwide struggle to uphold the ideals of the Declaration, evolving political and environmental situations constantly present new challenges.
Images (top to bottom): KURIGRAM, BANGLADESH: Villagers hack away the embankment left by the most recent flooding in the area where their village used to be. They are doing this on the orders of the local landowner who is using the earth for construction in another area. These men are effectively further removing the only barrier between them and further flooding but they desperately need the small amount they are paid so do the work anyway. Flooding, Poverty and lack of protected land ownership amongst the poor is driving a serious food crisis in Bangladesh. Extreme poverty and rising food prices couple with an oversupply of cheap labor has meant that many people can only afford to eat once a day. (photo by Brent Stirton, from Global Water Issues)
QAMSHILI, SYRIA: Faycal, 77 years old, presents his military service record book of 1951. Neither he nor any member of his family have Syrian nationality. They are part of more than 300,000 stateless Syrian Kurds. Most of them lost their Syrian nationality in the census of 1962 and have no national rights. (photo by Julien Goldstein, from Kurdistan: Anger of a People Without Rights)
SAN VICENTE, MISIONES, ARGENTINA: Fabian Rodgriguez suffers from hydrocephalus. His mother, Candida Rodriguez, works in the tobacco industry, as does her husband. They use agrochemical products for the cultivation of their fields, following the guidelines set out by the cooperatives of large local producers, who require the use of such agrochemicals as a condition to the purchase of their crop. Fumigations in the agricultural fields of Argentina are being denounced as the cause of the increasing number of children born with malformations. (photo by Alvaro Ybarra Zavala, from Stories of a Wounded Land)